Learn to decode IT lingo with our IT glossary

Functional definitions of IT terms with relatable examples, through a managed IT lens.

Table of Contents

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Access Point

A device that allows wireless-equipped computers and other devices to communicate with a wired network.

“The IT department installed a new access point in the conference room, providing a seamless connection for laptops and smartphones to access the company's wired network during meetings.”

Active Directory

Active Directory (AD) is a proprietary directory service from Microsoft that enables IT administrators to centrally manage permissions and access to network resources.

“Azure Active Directory securely unifies users, groups, applications, services, and devices on the corporate network.”


A step-by-step procedure or formula for solving a problem or performing a task.

“The developer designed an efficient algorithm to sort large lists of numbers.”


Application is a general term for client-server software and software hosted in a data center.

“We recently switched from a client server version of QuickBooks to Right Networks, where the application is hosted in the cloud.”

Application Service Provider (ASP)

A third-party company that manages and distributes software-based services and solutions to their customers over a wide-area network, usually the Internet.

“Our company decided to partner with an ASP to streamline our software distribution, allowing us to access essential business applications securely over the Internet, reducing the need for on-premises software installations.”

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the computer simulation of human behavior to simplify routine tasks like speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.

“Grammarly uses Artificial Intelligence to assess the tone of my writing and suggest improvements that will better resonate with non-technical readers.”


The process of identifying yourself and the verification that you’re who you say you are.

“Entering your username and password to access your email is a common form of authentication.”


Automation is a term for technologies that reduce the need for human intervention in repetitive tasks.

“Online retailers use Automation to reduce the time it takes to make credit card purchases. Buying shirts used to take 5 minutes. Now I can select an item and check out in two minutes by clicking on the Amazon Pay link.”



A copy of data made to prevent loss or corruption.

“Always make a backup of your files before performing a system update.”

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

A business and technology policy that allows employees to bring in personal mobile devices and use these devices to access company data, e-mail, etc.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity is an organization’s state of readiness to support critical operations after emergencies and other adverse events.

“Our Business Continuity plan includes backup and disaster recovery services. All our data is backed up and replicated offsite. So even if we get breached, we don’t have to negotiate with ransomware attackers.”


Cloud Computing

The delivery of computing services over the internet, including storage, processing, and database management.

“With cloud computing, businesses can scale up their operations without investing in physical hardware.”


Compliance is the process of following and aligning business practices with established regulatory guidelines like GDPR, PCI DSS, NIST, HIPAA, SOX, SOC2, CMMC, and others.

“We follow the NIST Compliance framework and use the contents of our IT Roadmap to answer all the IT questions on our annual cybersecurity insurance renewal application.”

Content Filtering

Content Filtering is a hardware or software-based internet security solution that permits user access to approved emails and websites and blocks user access to restricted emails and websites.

“We use Proofpoint and Watchguard Firewalls to enforce corporate policies that reduce the influx of malware by screening sketchy emails and preventing users from accessing known malicious sites.”

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The brains of a computer.

“The CPU is responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations for various software applications.”

Cloud Service Provider (CSP)

A business model for providing cloud services.

"Our organization decided to partner with a reliable CSP (Cloud Service Provider) to leverage their expertise in delivering cloud services, helping us streamline our IT operations and scale our infrastructure as needed."


The executive “chief” level roles in a company—CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CISOs, and CIOs.

“This glossary was created to save time and frustration when making a business case for technology upgrades with the C-Suite.”


Dark Web

The Dark Web is much larger than the surface web. Since it’s not tracked by Google and other search engines, criminals work anonymously selling stolen identities, passwords, bank account routing numbers, social security numbers, health care benefits, illicit drugs, contract hit jobs, escort services, weapons, and more.

“If you use the same password for every account and frequently click on random email links, cyber criminals can acquire your access credentials for multiple accounts and sell this data, multiple times, on the Dark Web.”

Data Backup

The act of copying and storing data to a secondary location to prevent data loss.

“IT support emphasizes the importance of regular data backup to safeguard against unexpected data loss.”


A structured collection of data, often stored electronically, that can be easily accessed, managed, and updated.

“The company uses a relational database to manage its inventory.”

Deep Web

Ninety percent of the web is actually the deep web, just below the surface of the World Wide Web. Web developers and companies tell Google not to index the information so it’s not searchable.

“The deep web is the hidden part of the internet not indexed by search engines.”

Default Gateway

In a TCP/IP network, this is the gateway that computers on that network use to send data to, and receive it from, computers and networks outside of the local network. Typically, this is the router or firewall that connects the local network to the public Internet, although it might also be a router that connects to another remote server or computer within the same company.

“The default gateway in our office network is set to the company's firewall, which allows our computers to send and receive data to and from external networks like the internet.”

Demilitarized Zone

A separate area of your network that is isolated from both the Internet and your protected internal network. A DMZ is usually created by your firewall to provide a location for devices such as web servers that you want to be accessible from the public Internet.

“Firewalls establishes a demilitarized zone (DMZ) to isolate web servers and other public-facing devices, ensuring they are accessible from the internet while remaining separate from our internal network."

Domain Name Server (Or Server)

An Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Even though most domain names are alphabetic, hardware devices (like your PC) can only send data to a specific IP address. When you type www.microsoft.com into your web browser, or send an e-mail message to someone@business.com, your web browser and e-mail server have to be able to look up the IP address that corresponds to the Microsoft.com web server, or to the mail server that receives e-mail for business.com. DNS is the mechanism for doing this lookup.

“When you type a website's name like www.microsoft.com, the Domain Name Server (DNS) helps your computer find the right IP address for that website, so you can access it.”

Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a computing solution where the operating system and productivity software reside in the cloud instead of on the user’s physical machine.

“With Microsoft Azure DaaS, our remote workforce can securely reach all of their applications from mobile devices, workstations, or tablets.”

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery is a program and process within a business continuity plan for a company to resume access and maintain IT functionality following natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and other operational disruptions.

“Our managed IT provider offers Disaster Recovery, which maximizes our uptime and reduces capital expenses.”

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

A method for dynamically assigning IP addresses to devices on request, rather than explicitly programming an IP address into each device. If you have a server on your network, configuring that server as a DHCP server will make it much easier to add or reconfigure individual workstations on the network.

“IT department’s can configure the DHCP server to automatically assign IP addresses to devices on the network, simplifying the process of connecting to our Wi-Fi network for employees and guests.”


Email Security

Email Security is a portfolio of complimentary protective services including anti-spam, antivirus, archiving, content and image filtering, and encryption.

“For added protection against malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks, we use a third-party email security gateway with Microsoft 365.”

Electronic Health Record/Personal Health Record (HER/PHR)

These terms are used interchangeably to refer to record patient-centered health records.

“Clinics and hospitals now maintain electronic health records (EHR) or personal health records (PHR) to efficiently manage and store patient-specific health information.”


The process of converting information into a code to prevent unauthorized access.

“To ensure the security of the transmitted data, it was sent with end-to-end encryption.”

End of Life (EOL)

End of life means companies stop marketing, selling, or updating your equipment after a specific date.

“Our office desktops will reach EOL next year.”

End of Service (EOS)

End of service indicates the end of services and updates for server, storage, and network equipment. This milestone is the final deadline for sales, updates, or hardware support contract renewals.

“Our technology budget for the upcoming year includes a replacement for a server that will hit EOS next year.”


An Endpoint is any infrastructure device connected to a company network.

“Physical servers, hosted servers, cloud apps, firewalls, backup appliances, mobile devices, workstations, shared computers, switches, Wi-Fi hot spots, copiers/printers, and security cameras are endpoints. Many managed IT providers base service fees on the number of endpoints and users being covered and supported.”


Ethernet is the standard wired network technology in use almost everywhere today. If your computer is connected to a network via a cable, it’s likely using an Ethernet cable. That cable plugs into an Ethernet port on your computer.

“Ethernet is the preferred choice for connecting our computer lab's workstations to the local network because of its stability and high data transfer speeds.”



A network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security policies.

“The organization set up a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to its internal network.”


Fractional refers to expertise that is not a full-time employee. Fractional IT expertise can be helpful for specializations, especially in cybersecurity and compliance, or if doesn’t make sense for your organization to retain full-time talent.

“Our IT director is working with a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) from our managed IT provider on a fractional basis to prepare for our next FINRA audit.”


Graphical User Interface (GUI)

An interface that allows users to interact with software using graphical icons and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based interfaces.

“The software’s intuitive GUI made it popular among non-tech-savvy users.”



The physical components of a computer system, such as the CPU, memory, and storage devices.

“Regular maintenance ensures the longevity of your hardware components.”

Hardware Upgrade

The enhancement of computer hardware components to improve performance.

“To boost the speed of our workstations, the IT support recommended a hardware upgrade.”

Help Desk

A centralized system where IT support queries and issues are reported and managed.

“Whenever employees face technical challenges, they report the issue to the helpdesk for a timely solution.”

Hosted Applications (e.g., Hosted SharePoint or Hosted Exchange)

A service whereby a provider makes a software (e.g., e-mail) and space available on a server so its clients can host their data on that server so its clients can host their data on that server.

“Hosted SharePoint and Hosted Exchange, allowing us to access and manage our data and communication tools through a third-party service provider's server, improving flexibility and scalability.”


Identity & Access Management

Identity & Access Management is the administrative policy and practice of verifying and controlling who is granted or denied permission to log into a company’s network or applications.

“Your managed IT service provider protects your users, endpoints, and IT systems with a digital fence empowering them to function as a gatekeeper (and bouncer) for identity & access management.”


Infrastructure is a general term for IT systems, including but not limited to most of the physical elements in a local area network (LAN): switches, low voltage cabling, firewalls, servers, workstations, wireless access points (Wi-Fi), UPS, data backup appliances, copiers/printers, cameras, phone systems, and ISP services.

“Low voltage cabling and wiring is a critical component of our Infrastructure because it affects the communication speeds between all our devices and applications.”

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

In the most basic cloud-service model, providers of IaaS offer computers – physical or (more often) virtual machines – and other resources.

“We adopted Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to scale our IT resources efficiently by renting virtual machines and servers from a cloud provider, eliminating the need to manage physical hardware.”

Internet Protocol Address (IP Address)

A unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each device using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.

“Every device connected to the internet has a unique IP address.”

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

An ISP offers wireline, wireless, cable, fiber, 5G, and satellite internet access.

“Our IT provider recommends we maintain two ISP services for redundancy: an inexpensive, 100Mbps X 25Mbps bandwidth cable connection from Comcast, and a premium 1Gbps X 1Gbps fiber connection from Verizon.”

IT Governance

IT Governance is the practice of drafting, implementing, and managing IT policies, procedures, and plans.

“Our managed IT service provider delivers proactive IT Governance in the form of advisory services that include security guidance, documentation, network diagrams, vendor risk management, backup and disaster recovery, and assistance completing cyber insurance applications.”

IT Roadmap

An IT planning document that plots short-, medium-, and long-term IT initiatives, prioritized by cost, risk, and business impact.

“Purchasing a 48-port switch is a high impact initiative on our IT Roadmap because we’re adding 25 employees next month, and our current switches don’t have any available ports for 25 new user machines.”

IT Steering Committee

A group of company stakeholders from different departments who evaluate, analyze, and approve IT initiatives.

“Establishing and maintaining an IT Steering Committee increases accountability, reduces risk, and prevents one person from holding the proverbial keys to an organization’s digital estate.”

IT Support

The service that assists users with technical issues related to computer systems, software, and hardware.

“When Jane encountered a software glitch, she reached out to the IT support team who quickly resolved the issue.”



A programming language commonly used to create interactive effects and dynamic web pages.

“By using JavaScript, the web developer added interactive animations to the website.”



The core component of an operating system, managing system resources and the communication between hardware and software.

“The Linux kernel is open-source and serves as the foundation for many different distributions.”


Layered Defense

A dynamic and proactive approach to cybersecurity integrating multiple technology tools with user education and physical security.

“When we layer our security with different tools from different providers, we offer a better way to keep our business safe.”

License Management

License Management is the IT provider’s role administering hardware, software licenses, service and maintenance agreements, warranties, renewals, upgrades, and integrations.

“Our managed IT service provider always gives us advance notice of upcoming server license renewals, so we maintain compliance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A small network that’s confined to a local area. For example, your home network or an office network is a LAN. A LAN connects a group of computers for the purpose of sharing resources such as programs, documents, or printers. Shared files often are stored on a central file server.

“At our office, the Local Area Network (LAN) facilitates seamless communication among all the computers, making it easy for employees to share files and access centralized resources stored on our file server”


Mail Server

A networked computer dedicated to supporting electronic mail. You use a client program like Microsoft Outlook for retrieving new mail from the server and for composing and sending messages.

“I checked my email today using Microsoft Outlook, and it efficiently retrieved new messages from the mail server while also allowing me to compose and send emails seamlessly.”


Software specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems.

“The user unwittingly downloaded malware that started displaying unwanted ads on their computer.”

Malware Removal

The process of detecting and eliminating malicious software from a computer or network.

“The IT support team conducted a malware removal procedure to cleanse the infected computers.”

Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a cloud-friendly cybersecurity solution with fully-staffed 24/7 security operations centers to monitor, protect, detect, respond, and manage up-to-the-minute cyber risks, including zero-day threats and vulnerabilities. MDR also includes security awareness training and corrective measures to strengthen security readiness. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR) are product categories within MDR.

“Our in-house IT team implemented a SIEM four years ago, but we recently scrapped it when our new MSP offered an MDR solution. MDR employs artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automated analytical tools, making it more effective for continuous threat detection and response. It’s also easier to manage than SIEM.”

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Managed Service Providers monitor, manage, support, and secure corporate IT systems and users for a fixed monthly fee. These IT services are fully managed or co-managed depending on the client’s in-house IT footprint.

“Our MSP is an extension of our company. They oversee every piece of technology in our environment. This includes troubleshooting with third-party software developers and our copier company whenever we experience application or hardware malfunctions.”

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

Managed Security Service Providers offer cybersecurity services directly to IT departments at midsized companies and enterprises, or indirectly through MSPs that integrate and administer MSSP services to their small and midsized business clients.

“In response to new cybersecurity and compliance requirements from our insurance company, we added supplemental MSSP services to our MSP agreement. Since our MSP is also an MSSP, we do not have to engage another specialized security vendor.”

Master Services Agreement (MSA)

An MSA (Master Services Agreement) is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) contract.

“We expanded our MSA from unlimited remote monitoring and management to include unlimited onsite service, including MDR and mobile device encryption.”

Microsoft 365 (M365)

Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365 (O365) is a cloud-based productivity suite which includes Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

“We run most of our business on Microsoft 365 and our Managed Service Provider, a Microsoft Gold Partner, administers all support, licensing, and integration details.”

Microsoft Exchange Server

The server side of a client server, collaborative application product developed by Microsoft. It is a part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products and is used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure products. Exchange’s major features consist of e-mail, calendaring, contacts, and tasks; support for mobile and web-based access to information; and support for data storage.

“We rely on Microsoft Exchange Server to manage our email, calendars, contacts, and tasks, and to ensure seamless access to this information both through mobile devices and web-based applications."

Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is the process of taking an extra step to verify your identity when logging into a secure network or application.

“Whenever I log into my bank account, it prompts me to enter a unique 6-digit code they deliver via text to my phone.”



A computer that runs a program for converting Internet domain names into the corresponding IP addresses and vice versa

“When you type a website's domain name in your browser, a nameserver helps your computer find the IP address associated with that domain, allowing you to access the website.”


A group of interconnected computers, servers, or devices that share data and resources.

“The company's network allows employees to share and access files from any workstation.”

Network Administration

The management and maintenance of computer networks, ensuring they operate smoothly.

“IT support often includes network administration to ensure uninterrupted internet connectivity.”

Network Interface/Network Adapter

Your computer’s wired Ethernet connection and WiFi connection are basically both network interfaces.

If your laptop was connected to both a wired connection and a WiFi network, each network interface would have its own IP address. Each is a different connection.

“When my laptop is connected to both a wired Ethernet network and a WiFi network, each network interface is assigned its own unique IP address, distinguishing them as separate connections.”

Network Operating Center (NOC)

A Network Operating Center is command central for client management operations and IT support team. NOC employees provide technical support from a physical office or remotely, using IT management tools, hosted in multiple data centers for redundancy.

“My IT provider has a fully staffed NOC in each of their locations where help desk specialists, system engineers, network engineers, project managers, and cloud architects monitor, manage, support, and secure all of our business technology.”

Next-Generation Endpoint Security

Beyond traditional endpoint security solutions, next-generation endpoint security utilizes modern artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide real-time analysis of user and system behavior. These advanced tools address threats and also learn from threats and continuously adapt methods and combat them with greater speed and efficiency.

“Next-generation endpoint security, which harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze user and system behavior in real-time, adapting and responding more efficiently than traditional security solutions.”


On-site Support

IT support services delivered in person at the location where the technical issue has occurred.

“For hardware-related problems, on-site support is often necessary to diagnose and fix the issue.”

Open Source

Software for which the original source code is made freely available and can be redistributed and modified.

“One of the benefits of open source software is that the community can contribute to its development and improvement.”


Password Management

Password Management is a cybersecurity discipline and a generic product name for technology solutions that manage passwords.

“Solutions like LastPass, Bitwarden, and 1Password make password management a breeze. They generate and store unique, complex passwords so I can stay secure without having to remember dozens of logins.”


Piece of software designed to update a computer program or its supporting data, to fix or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs and improving usability or performance.

“The software developer quickly released a patch to address the critical security vulnerability in their application, ensuring that users' data remained safe from potential threats.”

Patch Management

Patch Management is the administrative discipline of monitoring, updating, and patching IT systems, applications, and operating systems.

“IT Administrators, using Professional Services Automation (PSA) with Remote, Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools conduct updates and run the latest Patches, a key best practice for maintaining solid cybersecurity.”

Plug ‘n’ Play

A shopworn term that overpromises immediate and incident-free service activation of new devices, software programs, and applications.

“My new year’s resolution is to discontinue saying Plug ‘n’ Play because it diminishes my credibility as an IT professional.”

Point of Contact

For Managed Service Providers, a Point of Contact (PoC) is the designated client representative who interacts with the IT support team on an as-needed basis.

“While our director of operations is the Point of Contact for day-to-day concerns with our MSP, we have an IT planning committee that includes our CFO, Director of Marketing, VP of HR, and Managing Director.”


When an application wants to send or receive traffic, it must use a numbered port between 1 to 65535. This is how you can have multiple applications on a computer using the network and each application knows which traffic is for it.

“By assigning different ports to various network services, the server could simultaneously handle web traffic on port 80, email on port 25, and file transfers on port 21, allowing for efficient and organized communication within the network.”

Professional Services Automation (PSA)

Professional Services Automation (PSA) tools empower everyone in a Managed Service Provider to manage IT for a business, including but not limited to service dispatch for onsite support, help desk, system engineering, network engineering, cloud architecture, vCIO, VCISO, procurement, and project managers. IT specialists at larger SMBs, mid-market companies, and enterprises often run and manage PSA tools in-house.

“Our MSP’s PSA lets us create trackable tickets for every proactive and reactive event, prioritized by highest to lowest business impact: P1, P2, P3, or P4.”


A set of rules governing the exchange or transmission of data between devices.

“The HTTP protocol is used to transfer data on the web.”



Remote Desktop

A windows feature that allows you to have access to a Windows session from another computer in a different location.

“While working from home, I used Remote Desktop to connect to my office computer, enabling me to access all my files and applications as if I were physically present at the office.”

Remote Login

An interactive connection from your desktop computer over an Internet connection to a computer at a remote site.

“I used remote login to access a powerful supercomputer located at a research facility on the other side of the country, allowing me to perform complex simulations that would have been impossible on my local machine.”

Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM)

Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) is an Managed Service Provider (MSP) offering and the name of the tools MSPs use to perform this service.

“MSPs use Remote Monitoring & Management tools to proactively monitor, manage, support, and secure thousands of IT client endpoints and users, lowering the demand for frequent, onsite physical intervention.”

Remote Support

IT support provided from a different location, often using specialized software to access and control the user's computer.

“With remote support, IT technicians can troubleshoot problems without being physically present at the user's location.”

Responsible IT Architecture

Responsible IT Architecture is a term for up-to-date, resilient, business-class IT systems, designed to support your mission and compliance requirements.

“To attain Responsible IT Architecture status, we’re replacing our 10-year-old firewall, implementing a content filtering system, and requiring everyone to use Multifactor Authentication (MFA).”


A device used for connecting two local area networks (LANs); a device that passes traffic back and forth. You likely have a home router. The router’s job is to pass outgoing traffic from the Internet to your devices. A router is also used if you have multiple office locations, and you need all devices to communicate to the home office servers.

“When I upgraded my home network, I invested in a high-quality router to ensure a seamless connection between all my devices and the internet, providing fast and reliable access throughout my house.”


Security Awareness Training

Security Awareness Training is a dynamic educational program that teaches users to identify and reduce exposure to cyber threats, phishing emails, malware, ransomware, fake websites, and social engineering scams.

“Security Awareness Training turns our employees into ‘human firewalls’ by changing their behavior to quickly identify risks that go undetected by our next generation firewall and email security gateway.”

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

A software solution that aggregates and analyzes activity from many different resources across your IT network. SIEM collects security from network devices, servers and more.

“Implementing Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems helps organizations monitor and respond to security threats more effectively.”

Security Operations Center (SOC)

A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a facility for security specialists to offer cybersecurity services 24/7/365.

“To stay ahead of evolving threats, escalating costs, and talent shortages, our MDR provider’s SOC team analyzes trillions of online activities per week, identifying correlations, responding to anomalies, and updating the latest security risk definitions.”

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

An SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a schedule detailing an IT provider’s response time for IT support, prioritized by low, medium, or high business impact.

“If our network goes down, our managed IT service provider is contractually bound to respond within an hour. If one of our users wants to change a workstation setting, our IT provider is contractually bound to respond within 8 hours.”

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

An Internet standard for e-mail transmission.

“SMTP handles the behind the scenes work of email communication.”

Single Sign-on (SSO)

SSO lets users enter one set of credentials to securely log into all their applications in one place.

“SSO simplifies my work life by reducing the steps to access everything I need through a single portal.”

Software As A Service (SaaS)

A software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is one of three main categories of cloud computing, alongside infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

“At my business we prefer to use ,SaaS, a cloud computing model where third-party providers host and deliver software applications over the internet.

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN)

SD-WAN is a cloud-friendly virtual WAN architecture solution that empowers organizations to use combinations of internet transport services to improve application performance.

“Our SD-WAN solution scans our cable, fiber, and wireless internet services and routes our users to Salesforce.com, M365, and ADP over the fastest and least congested path.”

Software Installation

The process of setting up and preparing a software application for use on a computer system.

“The IT support team assisted with the software installation, ensuring all employees had the latest version.”


E-mail spam, also known as junk e-mail or unsolicited bulk e-mail, is a subset of spam that involves nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by e-mail. By definition, spam is unsolicited and sent in bulk. Spammers collect e-mail addresses from chatrooms, websites, newsgroups, and viruses that harvest users’ address books and are sold to other spammers.

“The e-mail in my inbox was a spam”

Spear Phishing

Phishing attempts are directed at specific individuals or companies. In contrast to bulk phishing, spear phishing attackers often gather and use personal information about their target to increase the profitability of successfully getting their victim take action.

“Cybersecurity experts advise individuals and organizations to stay vigilant against spear phishing attacks, as they are highly targeted and can lead to data breaches and financial losses.”

Storage Area Network (SAN)

A dedicated storage network that provides access to consolidated, block level storage. SANs are primarily used to make storage devices accessible to servers, so the devices appear as locally attached to the operating system. A SAN typically has its own network of storage devices that are generally not accessible through the regular network by regular devices.

“Companies use a Storage Area Network (SAN) to centrally manage and store their data for improved accessibility and reliability.”


Serves as a controller, enabling networked devices to talk to each other efficiently. Through information-sharing and resource allocation, switches save businesses money and increase employee productivity.

“By intelligently directing data traffic, switches play a crucial role in optimizing network performance and enhancing overall efficiency.”

System Administration

System Administration is the proactive practice of monitoring, documenting, organizing, updating, patching, and fine-tuning a client’s IT systems.

“The system administrators at my managed IT service provider responded to an alert at 3 AM this morning and reset a virtual server that was generating error messages.”


Technical Assessment

A Technical Assessment or Security Assessment is an IT discovery project to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s IT environment and operational maturity.

“We recently scored high marks on our Technical Assessment based on five factors: our IT infrastructure is up to date, everyone uses MFA, we recently implemented mobile device management, we’re heavily automated, and all our applications are hosted in SOC 2 Type II data centers.”

Technical Debt

Technical Debt is a term to describe client IT environments with aging, distressed infrastructure that hampers performance.

“With Technical Debt, inefficiencies compound, glitches increase in frequency, and replacement costs rise the longer the client waits to make upgrades. The best way to avoid Technical Debt is to refresh hardware, software, and applications in accordance with its useful life or technology lifecycle.”

Threat Actor

Any individual or group of individuals who attempt to conduct malicious activities against enterprises. Threat across can be internal or external.

“The threat actor attempted to send a spear phishing e-mail to my inbox”

Ticketing System

Whenever employees face technical challenges, they report the issue to the helpdesk for a timely solution.

“The ticketing system helps the IT support team organize and address user queries in an efficient manner.”

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

An agreed-upon set of rules that tell computers how to exchange information over the Internet. Other Internet protocols, like FTP, Gopher and HTTP, sit on top of TCP/IP.

“TCP/IP, is the backbone of internet communication, ensuring that data packets are transmitted reliably and reach their intended destinations across the global network.”


Unified Communications as a Service

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the rebranded name for voice over internet protocol (VoIP). UCaaS captures the integrative benefits of using the internet and software rather than traditional public switched telephone network infrastructure and premise-based hardware to route voice traffic, auto attendant, and call center capabilities across desk phones, mobile devices, email, instant messaging, and video conferencing platforms.

“Our phone system is a UCaaS solution that accommodates everyone: remote call center representatives, office workers with standard hours, and mobile salespeople with settings that include Find Me/Follow Me, simultaneous ring, and voice mail to email.”

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is an emergency power option that kicks in when the main source of electricity fails.

“Even if our office was not located in an office submarket with an aging power grid (and frequent power surges), we have a UPS in our network as a safeguard against other factors that might cause our onsite data backup appliance to fail.”

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

The global address of documents, websites, and other resources on the web.

“I type in the URL into the search bar to get to my website.”


A user is an employee or company associate who accesses a computer to conduct business.

“Our company has 100 employees or users and 500 workstations because everyone uses multiple devices.”


Vendor Management

Vendor Management is the role your MSP plays as a technical liaison troubleshooting with third parties whose services integrate with your network: ISPs, phone system vendors, copier/printer companies, line of business application providers, and more.

“We were having printer issues, so we opened a ticket with our MSP who collaborated with our copier Vendor to fix the problem by downloading an updated printer driver.”


Virtual is a multi-purpose buzzword in the managed IT world to describe alternatives to full-time employees, physical machines, and offices.

“We don’t have the budget to hire a full-time Chief Information Security (CISO) Officer, so we work with a Virtual CISO (vCISO) from our MSP who provides fractional consulting services.”

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

network constructed by using public wires (the Internet) to connect nodes (usually computers and servers). A VPN uses encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and the data it holds. This allows businesses to connect to other servers and computers located in remote offices, from home or while traveling.

“I use a VPN to access the internet while using public WiFi.”


A program intended to alter data on a computer in an invisible fashion, usually for mischievous or destructive purposes. Viruses are often transferred across the Internet, as well as by infected diskettes, and can affect almost every type of computer. Special antivirus programs are used to detect and eliminate them.

“A company brought their computer that was infected by a virus to their IT company to help clean the device.”

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

A means of using the Internet as the transmission medium for phone calls. An advantage is you do not incur any additional surcharges beyond the cost of the Internet access.

“Many businesses have switched to VoIP, to reduce communication costs and improve call quality by using the internet for phone calls.”

Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability Management is a comprehensive, 24/7 network protection, scanning, and reporting solution that monitors and finds security gaps, new devices, and threats that impact performance and weaken compliance.

“Our MSP’s Vulnerability Management tool integrates with their PSA, which triggers a notification whenever I try to log onto the network with my old MacBook. So, I’ll be using my company-approved workstation from now on. It’s the right thing to do. Plus, I hate getting called out.”


Web Hosting

Web Hosting is the backend service that maintains websites, domain names, and e-commerce applications on the internet.

“Our MSP vendor manages the relationship with our Web Hosting provider, ensuring the latest security plug-ins for our WordPress sites are working.”

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A WAN (Wide Area Network) is an internet solution connecting company offices, users, and their Local Area Networks (LANs), across various locations.

“Our law firm with offices, and different local area networks (LANs) in LA, Phoenix, Dallas, and Atlanta, is connected via a wide area network. Our WAN service providers are Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T.”

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

A security protocol for wireless local area networks defined in the 802.11b used in a wireless network. WEP provides the same level of security as that of a wired LAN.

“Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was an early attempt at securing Wi-Fi networks.”

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)

A set of communication protocols for enabling wireless access to the Internet.

“Wireless Application Protocol played a key role in the evolution of mobile internet, making it possible to access information and services on early cell phones.”

Wireless Fidelity (WiFi)

A generic term from the WiFi Alliance that refers to any type of 802.11 network. Products approved as “WiFi Certified” are certified as interoperable with each other for wireless communications.

“Wireless Fidelity, is the technology that allows you to connect to the internet and local networks wirelessly, providing the freedom to access online resources from various devices without the need for physical cables.”

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

The computers and devices that make up a wireless network.

“Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) have become integral in modern workplaces, fostering mobility and collaboration among employees by providing wireless connectivity throughout the office.”

WiFi Protected Access (WPA)

A standard designed to improve the security features of WEP.

“Many users prefer to set up their home Wi-Fi networks with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) to ensure a higher level of security and privacy for their internet connections.”




Zero Trust

A cynical sounding cybersecurity policy that assumes no one is automatically trustworthy, requiring everyone to verify their identity when logging into the company network.

“Every morning, I repeat the same 5-step process to establish trust (starting at ground zero) to confirm my identity. Otherwise, the system doesn’t recognize me.”